Sunderland 0-1 Cardiff City
Sunderland fell to defeat at the Stadium of Light with Mark Harris’ solitary goal being the difference between the two sides.
After victory in midweek against Huddersfield Town, Tony Mowbray’s men could not follow up their result as they came away from their penultimate game before the World Cup break with nothing.
The ground saw a lively opening to the game. Straight back into the side after serving his one match suspension, Jack Clarke tested the Bluebirds defence with a mazy run from the left. After driving inside, his deflected shot bounced wide of the post.
Within a minute, the Lads were let off the hook when Dan Neil lost possession and Cardiff broke on the counter attack. Mark Harris laid on Gavin Whyte inside the box but the Cardiff frontman arched his shot inside the box wide of the post.
Another defensive error for Sunderland saw Jaden Philogene seize upon possession with the goal gaping but Danny Batth brought him down awarding a penalty to the away side. Joe Ralls stepped up from 12 yards but we denied by Anthony Patterson who dived to his left and palmed the ball away.
To cap off a lightening first 15 minutes of the game, Amad received the ball in the box and fired on goal only to see Perry NG blocked his goalbound effort off the line.
A brief lull in the game played into the hands of Cardiff with Tony Mowbray’s starting to fall below the pace of the game. Sheyi Ojo was next to test Patterson’s grip with a low shot on the edge of the box before Cedric Kipre’s low cross was crying out for a blue shirt but the ball whizzed across the face of goal.
Before a welcome break at the interval, Sunderland survived another scare when Harris ran in behind but could only squeeze his shot wide of the post.
Minutes after the restart, Harris would make no mistake this time. Mahlon Romeo drove forward and struck on the edge of the box but Harris made contact and diverted the ball into the far corner.
Sunderland picked themselves up off the floor and rallied back into the game with Mowbray making a double substitution. Alex Pritchard and Corry Evans were introduced into the fold and Pritchard, fresh from his goal in midweek, bent a free-kick into the side netting from the edge of the box.
The hosts kept up the pressure with Amad’s drifting run and shot bending agonisingly wide of the post while Ellis Simms looping header landed on top of Ryan Allsop’s net.
Mark Hudson’s side sat back in the hopes of keeping hold of their slender advantage while the Black Cats made further changes in the hopes of finding an equaliser. Max Watters forced Patterson into a save from a snapshot before Sunderland went up the other end and saw Elliot Embleton’s bending effort well handled by Allsop.
In the end, the Lads efforts fell in vein as the Bluebirds walked away from Wearside with the points.
Sunderland AFC XI: Patterson; O’Nien, Batth, Wright, Cirkin; Ba (Evans 57’), Neil (Pritchard 57’); Roberts (Bennette 67’), Amad, Clarke; Simms (Embleton 72’)
Subs: Bass, Matete, Hume
Cardiff XI: Allsopp; Romeo, NG, Kipre, Nkoukou; Ralls, Wintle; Philogene (Sawyers 58’), Ojo (Nelson 72’), O’Dowda (Rinomohta 72”); Harris (Watters 58’)
Subs: Sang, Whyte